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QUICK REVIEW: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Howdy ladies and gents, I’m back for another film review and today I’ll be talking about the live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. Now I had been apprehensive about this film for a while now, and I’m sure a good number of people across the world have been too. This western adaptation of the original manga and anime film from 1995 is one of the most talked about and respected films in the eyes of a lot of critics and film fans, so remaking it was always going to be uphill battle. Now I know there’s been a lot of talk about the white-washing of the main character and I don’t want to get into that, the main reason I wasn’t keen on this film was because of the director, not only because I didn’t think he was the right man for the job, but also because of his foolish adulterous actions in the past. But yeah that shouldn’t come into play when we’re talking about this film. So how is Ghost in the Shell? Well read on and find out!

So the story can be summed up as the following:

“Cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander The Major (Scarlett Johansson) and her task force Section 9 thwart and humiliate criminals, hackers and terrorists. Now, they must face a new enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage Hanka Robotics’ artificial intelligence technology.”

I thought the story had a lot of interesting ideas of about what is to be human, freewill, the future of technology, the pros and cons of being cybernetically enhanced and so on. If you’ve seen any sci-fi film involving robots and technology then a lot of the themes and concepts this film presents will feel familiar, and while this film does do a good job of presenting some of these elements, I don’t think it had the right writers or director necessary to make think and feel on that deeper, dramatic and more emotional level. It is surface level material that’s fine but you’ve seen it done better in other films. For the most part the film was pretty interesting, but it did have a few moments where it really slowed down and some of the information the characters were going on about just didn’t matter to me, it felt like pointless jargon that needed to end quickly. Oh and don’t expect me to do any comparisons to the 1995 film, I haven’t seen in around 9 years and I wasn’t too keen on it, I thought the sequel was much better, so I only noticed some visual similarities but I couldn’t confirm them for sure.

As for the cast I thought they were fine, though only a handful of them stood out. Scarlett Johansson as Major Mira Killian was fine, she handled her material the best she could, at times I felt like she was getting into that Lucy territory where she couldn’t express any emotion because of the nature character, but for the most part she was fine. Takeshi Kitano as Chief Daisuke Aramaki was pretty cool, Kitano has a nice screen presence and I loved his tone of speaking and how imposing he was, but I feel like he was a little wasted in this film. Pilou Asbæk as Batou was nice, I enjoyed his performance and Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouélet had some good scenes and interesting scenes with Johansson. Michael Pitt as Hadley Cruz was pretty intriguing and had some of the most captivating material in the film, also seeing Chin Han around as Togusa was fun and he had some nice scenes too and finally Peter Ferdinando as Cutter was just generic and not as engaging as he should have been.

When it comes to the presentation it was easily the best part of the film. From a visual standpoint the film was great, the world that the special effects team created for this film was clearly inspired by not only the original film but also Blade Runner, it is colourful, large in scale, layered with all sorts of details from the design of the robotic humans, to the various holograms dotted all over the city. It was all very impressive and pretty to look at. The action scenes were fine, some stood out more so than others, but I feel like the creativity went the visual style of the film and wasn’t applied to fight scenes which felt a little bland and lacking in creativity, oh and some of those uses of slow motion were unnecessary too. The film score from Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe had some interesting moments especially when there started tapping into the otherworldly nature of the original film’s music, but overall it was decent.

In the end Ghost in the Shell was alright, as someone who wasn’t expecting much it ended up being better than I anticipated. Now I’m not saying the film is great, but it wasn’t total rubbish either. I enjoyed some of the action, the visuals were pretty cool and some of the themes were intriguing, but in the end it didn’t have the depth and direction necessary to make it anything more than just an okay film.

So have you seen Ghost in the Shell and if so what did you think of it? And how do you feel it compares to the original? Please drop me your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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PODCAST: Film Focus Episode 15 – Is It Too Late For A Black Widow Film?

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Howdy ladies and gents of the internet, as some of you may have seen, back in April I started a film podcast entitled Film Focus and on this podcast I talk about various topics in film and reviews as well. I was actually meant to make this post available last week but was super busy with work, but hey better late then never right?

Anyway here’s the 15th episode:

This is a topic of conversation I’ve wanted to talk about for some time now, Black Widow has become one of the most notable and well-received characters in the MCU since 2012’s The Avengers (I mean she was good in Iron Man 2, but I think more people took notice of her afterwards), and these days talk of her getting a solo film is something that always comes up every so often because a lot of fans want it, but unless Marvel Studios are still finding the right means to make it happen or just don’t care, a lot of people are left wondering if it’ll ever happen. And with the ever-changing nature of Hollywood and the cinematic film landscape, the longer Marvel leaves this, the less interested people will become, so I thought I’d just share my thoughts on the matter and hopefully start up some discussions.

As I said before in each episode I’ll cover a different topic and since I don’t have much in the way of listeners or promotion, I’m here to spread the word about my podcast. 🙂

You can find my main site on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/film_focus

Or if you’re on iTunes subscribe and rate me on there: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/film-focus/id1114233892?mt=2

So if you have some spare time on your hands and would like to listen to the ramblings of a passionate/strange man then please check it out, and share it with your friends if you can. Also you have any feedback or if you’d be interested in joining on future episodes be sure to let me know, until next time, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Films, Media

 

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EPIC REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War (Spoiler-Free!)

Howdy people of the internet, so after waiting two painstakingly long days to get back to my laptop I’m here to give you my review of Captain America: Civil War. I’ve seen the film twice in IMAX (once at the midnight screening and again on the same afternoon) and I’ve had a lot of thoughts in my head about this film, and a lot of it is spoiler-based, but I’m going to try my hardest to be as vague and spoiler-free as possible. Alrighty then, let’s begin. 🙂

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So the story can be described as the following:

“After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team.”

What should be clarified straight away is that Civil War is definitely Captain America 3 first and foremost, as the story furthers what we learnt in The Winter Soldier, but it also acknowledges the larger world of the MCU by introducing most of the main heroes so far, but also adding new characters and stories in this film. What I loved more so than anything else was that there was drama, real drama and it was material that was raw, emotional and effective. This is easily the most layered and emotional film in the MCU to date dealing with the themes of freedom, accountability, revenge and friendship being handled in a realistic and captivating manner. Not only do get to see Captain America try his best to keep his best friend safe, and butt heads with Iron Man with their different ideologies, but also see our heroes weigh out the pros and cons of their actions, pick sides based on their beliefs and clash. It was not only interesting, it was also complicated morally and ethically too. You’re given both sides of the argument and luckily both sides are effective at what they’re trying to convey, you’ll probably be conflicted during and after the film ends as well. If I have any issues with the story it was probably just a few changes in some of the character motivations which would have elevated the film a little more, but I have to hand it to the writers and the Russo brothers for juggling so much material and making it work in a coherent and stylish manner.

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With the cast they were all brilliant, and while some stood out more than others, everyone has a reason to be in the film and have their moments to shine and some of the best moments in the film are just with characters talking and interacting. Firstly there’s Chris Evans who was brilliant as Steve Rogers/Captain America, he’s a faced with difficult choices, and yet found a way to be just as heroic, charismatic and true to his beliefs while also being a leader and friend to his allies. Robert Downey Jr. killed it as Tony Stark/Iron Man, just when I thought I’d seen everything from this character, we find out there’s still more to learn. In this film Stark was very still very humours, but also passionate, vulnerable and driven and while he seemed like the bad guy, at the same time you understood his viewpoint. Scarlett Johansson  was wonderful as Black Widow, it was cool to see her character more in line with The Winter Soldier version where she was intelligent,logical and showed off her skill set on and off of the battlefield. Sebastian Stan also did well as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier continuing to be an interesting and tragic character with good ties to Steve Rogers, and speaking of ties to Steve, Anthony Mackie also did a great job as The Falcon, their bond continued to grow and get tested with the appearance of Bucky and I liked how funny Falcon continues to be.

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Oh and Black Panther, dear god, he was brilliant! Chadwick Boseman was everything I wanted him to be and everything, as T’Challa/Black Panther he was intelligent, driven, honourable, tenacious and when he threw down, damn! He was insanely athletic, flexible and animal-like and I adored his treatment in this film. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen as The Vision and Scarlet Witch were brilliant, I love how they had developed a grew since Age of Ultron, but found new hurdles and personal issues to fight through, Vision continued to have a lot of funny and thought-provoking dialogue, while Scarlet Witch had a good few light-hearted and dramatic moments that developed her character in great ways. Jeremy Renner looked like was having a great time as Hawkeye and I really enjoyed his scenes, the same could also be said for Paul Rudd and Don Cheadle as Ant-Man and War Machine, both of them bring back what you loved about their characters and have great moments in the film.

William Hurt’s performance as Thunderbolt Ross was also great, he’s changed a great deal since The Incredible Hulk, but I really enjoyed his role as the government official attempting to keep the Avengers in check. It was great to see more of Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter as she had more to do and had a good few memorable moments in the film, and Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross was delightful and tough and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last from him, and the return of Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones while brief was really cool. Daniel Brühl as Baron Helmut Zemo was interesting, while he’s not utilized in a conventional way and won’t please fans of the comics, I thought his role was very smart, though I believe the film would have worked without him. And finally Tom Holland as Spider-Man, holy crap! Marvel Studios nailed it! If you’re like me you’ve seen Spidey done five times and he’s been done well in certain areas but not completely comic book accurate. But here he’s the most accurate Spider-Man the to date with right balance of action and humour. He’s introduced in a logical and natural way, and seeing Holland as Peter Parker inside and out of the suit was delightful as he felt so fresh different to the actors who’ve come before him.

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When it comes to the presentation it was pretty solid. Visually the film is very nice, the cinematography is great with some wonderfully shot action sequences, good editing and wonderful CGI. The fight scenes are some of the best in the MCU so far with really creative, acrobatic and versatile action for everyone involved whether they be superpowered or not, and there’s the much-talked about epic fight sequence in the airport which for me was one of the most beautiful fanboy moments I’ve ever seen. It was like a comic book come to life in the best way possible. However I will say for everything I liked, I will say that the shaky cam in some of the fight scenes was a little chaotic, and the visual effects in certain parts of the film felt a little lacking in detail and didn’t mesh as well with the live-action footage, but those are nitpicks for sure. As for the film score, Henry Jackman returns to compose and his score definitely feels in line with Winter Soldier, but was also a little more dramatic and heroic than before. However this score while it works within the film, it didn’t have any standout tracks or a theme that I can remember like some of Marvel’s previous films.

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In conclusion Captain America: Civil War was a lot of fun and solid follow-up to Winter Soldier. While it won’t change the game for the superhero genre, it did dive a little deeper into those thought-provoking and emotional territories that the MCU hadn’t fully embraced beforehand, and with some awesome action, an intriguing story and well-developed characters, this is an adventure that people won’t want to miss out on especially if you’re fans of these films and comics.

Rating: 8.5/10

So are you going to see Captain America: Civil War and if you’ve seen it what did you think of it? Please sound off your thoughts in the comments below ane I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: The Jungle Book (2016)

Howdy people, FINALLY after being stuck at work for the last week I’m back to my blog to write some stuff, yay! 😛 Anyway everyone has gone on about how great The Jungle Book is, but I haven’t, mainly because I hadn’t seen it…  Until yesterday. Now that I’ve seen it I can gush about how great it is too because the film is awesome and I’ll tell you why in this review. 🙂

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Straight to the point, Disney’s live-action The Jungle Book, much like last year’s Cinderella is an updated version of the classic animated film. So if you’re familiar with the story of the original then this is almost beat-for-beat exactly the same as you remember, however, there have been a good few alterations/modifications to compensate for the transition into live-action but also for the changes in the story. What I really appreciated was how the writers took the foundation of the original film, but modified it so that the story got a little darker, layered and had a greater sense of scale, realism and threat which not only encompassed Mowgli but everyone else in the jungle as well. There was a lovely sense of cohesion and community, and I several of the updates to the story really improve the overall experience much more than the original.

I really liked the cast as well starting with Neel Sethi who was great as Mowgli, for a child actor who essentially had to ask like he was surrounded by talking animals he did a bloody good job. I actually LOVED Mowgli in this film. In the original he was such a whiny little brat who had one or two moments of being likeable, but overall wasn’t one of Disney’s better protagonists, but here he’s young, brash and a little hard-headed, but he’s also resourceful, charming and applies logic to a lot of his situations. As for the voice cast they were awesome across the board. Bill Murray was delightful as Baloo, you can tell that Murray was just having a good time with this material and much of his dialogue felt very much like him more so than Baloo, but for me that was a good thing. Ben Kingsley was spot on as Bagheera, Kingsley was able to be strict, relaxed and hilarious without trying too hard was impressive. Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha had a fierce yet calm and caring demeanour, while Scarlett Johansson was creepy, mysterious and a seductive as Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito brought the right levels of confidence and sincerity to Akela and Christopher Walken as King Louie was simply delightful with Walken really adding something special to all of the scenes he was in whether he was lighthearted or aggressive. But as much as I loved the other voice actors it is Idris Elba who stole the show as Shere Khan. Elba just has one of the best voices ever especially for villainous roles and he commits 100% so when he makes threats or shouts you fear him and I loved it!

Oh and let’s talk about that presentation. Do I even have to say it? It was amazing. Visually the film was fantastic, from the time the film opens with the Disney logo you are treated to a visual treat for the eyes with some of the most impression CGI to date. The fact that like 90% maybe 95% of the film was made up of visual effects in mental when you consider all of the landscapes, animals, weather effects and so on that had to be done, but was incredibly realistic, sharp and the attention to detail was insane. I also loved the realism applied to the animals, even though they talked, the facial movements were relatable and had great subtle movements with ears or blinking eyes. Though if I can fault the visual effects in any way I found say that there are sequences at night where things got a little too dark, but that’s about it. And I also really liked the film score by John Debney who captured the spirit of the original music with the pieces he included, but also added a sense of drama and tension not found in the original too.

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In conclusion The Jungle Book was just awesome. There was just the right balance of nostalgia and freshness to justify this film’s existence and with it being executed so well I can’t help but be excited for where Disney and their talented filmmakers go next with their live-action material. 🙂

Rating: 8.5/10 (It was almost a 9!)

So have you seen The Jungle Book and if so what did you think of it? And if you’ve seen the original as well which do you prefer? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Captain America: Civil War Trailer #2 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, time for another trailer review and today I’m finally getting around to talking about the second trailer for Captain America: Civil War. Now I loved the first trailer and was hyped to see the new one a few days ago, but trust that when it came out I was at work and had to wait until around 11pm which was horrible. I would have reviewed this trailer much sooner but again work has kept me at bay for the last few days, but now I’m finally free to talk about this trailer and wouldn’t you know, it’s pretty damn awesome! 😀

Check out the trailer below:

So first impressions after seeing the trailer, “Forget today, forget tomorrow, maybe even forget my birthday. Get me to the release date of Civil War because I need this film in my system now!”

Just like the last trailer what I love about the footage we get here is that this film at the center of all the action and chaos really feels like a personal story which is focused on the characters. Once again we have Steven Rogers and Tony Stark on opposing sides and the trailer further illustrates their points of view and why each of them is right or wrong depending who you side with. And just like before this trailer includes that tone, where things are serious, it feels like there are pretty big stakes as not only the heroes with be beating the crap out of each other, but with the attack on the United Nations, the return of Thunderbolt Ross and Black Panther’s involvement, it seems like there will a great deal of ramifications felt all over the place.

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A lot happened in this trailer so I’ll just highlight a few things:

  • Highlighting the events of the past: Having Thunderbolt Ross show some of the heroes the destruction that laid in their wake after New York, Washington DC and Sokovia was really great as it showed just how much damage they’d unknowingly caused and was also a way to communicate to the audience that even in the MCU for the victories there were sacrifices and the heroes have to be made accountable, seeing Scarlet Witch’s reaction to Sokovia and having Steve telling Ross to stop showing the video was a beautiful moment.
  • MORE BLACK PANTHER: Jesus, I fucking love this character and I haven’t even heard him speak or do anything besides run, jump, slice Bucky’s motorcycle, have a quick fight with Bucky and get shot at with bullets from a helicopter, but that doesn’t matter, what does matter is that the Panther is a frigging badass and I just can’t wait to see how Chadwick Boseman kills it in this role. The Panther has an elegance and ferocity to him that just makes him look so dangerous and cool and I seriously want to see him kick some ass around about now.
  • Ant-Man on the move: This was a fairly brief moment but when Hawkeye shot the arrow and Ant-Man rode it and then leapt jumped onto Iron Man’s armour that was just frigging kick ass. More Ant-Man love is welcome.
  • Scarlet Witch overpowers Vision?: This was another blink and you’ll miss it moment, but seeing Scarlet Witch use her powers to bring Vision to his knees was very interesting and pretty much gave us a confirmation that the almighty Vision does have competition in the powers department.
  • Cool lines of dialogue!: “You just started a war!”, “This job, we try to safe as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t me everybody. But you don’t give up.”, “I’m not the one who needs to watch their back.”, “I was wrong about you, the whole world was wrong about you.” and “I could do this do this all day.” (great callback to The First Avenger) I can see myself quoting this film for a while in the future.

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But let’s talk about that Spidey reveal. I actually had it ruined for me while I was scanning ComicBookMovie.com and it was used in a few thumbnails and I was like “That’s not the new Spidey suit is it?” But sure enough, I watched the trailer, saw Tony shout “Underoos!” And bam, my boy just webs Cap’s hands together, steals his shield and drops in like a badass sporting a slightly modified version of the classic suit with moving eye lenses! Now I have to say I wasn’t too keen on his look at first mainly because it looked so CG heavy and felt like it didn’t look very realistic, though now that I’ve seen the trailer a few more times I’ve definitely warmed to the suit and in the images released there’s actually been so notable levels of detail seen in the suit that weren’t visible in the trailer probably because of the YouTube video compression.

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I really like the suit, it’s classic, but updated with a few stripes on the arms and legs, but it’s those eyes that got me immediately. At first I thought this film was pulling a Deadpool and decided to animate them just because that’s how they were in the comics, but when you listen, you could actually hear a mechanical sound at the lenses got smaller which made me certain that this suit would be part mechanical and possibly made by Tony Stark because Spidey couldn’t make something like this on his own given his age and current freshness in the MCU. Either way I’m down with this new version of Spidey, I just hope the suit looks more realistic in the film.

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In conclusion the second trailer for Captain America: Civil War has just amplified my excitement so much. All this glorious footage just makes me giddy for not only this film, but the future of the MCU going forward with the storylines and characters who make it out of this thing alive. This film looks so good I can’t imagine it failing, I mean it has to be great right? However I am reminded constantly in the back of my mind about Age of Ultron and how my hype technically ruined that film so I’m being cautious, but damn it’s hard not to be insanely hyped with all this good stuff Marvel’s doing at the moment.

So have you seen the second official trailer for Civil War and if so what did you think of it? Are you more or less excited than before? Please sound off your thoughts in the comments below ane I’ll see ya on the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2016 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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SUPER REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War Trailer #1

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, time for another trailer review and today I’m gonna be talking about the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War. Now I was starting to wonder when this footage would drop because it’s getting close to Christmas and still nothing had been shown yet, but then out of nowhere I hope up late after midday and found out the trailer had been dropped by Jimmy Kimmel. WHAT!?! And there I am, gotta get online and see it. So now that I have is it good or bad? Well read on and find out!

Check out the trailer below:

So first impressions after seeing the trailer, “Nice, I’m liking this a lot.” The trailer didn’t blow me away but it had many significant details that made me think that this will certainly be one of the most important films in the MCU yet.

What was made immediately clear to me was that this was a Captain America film first and foremost, it had certain plot elements, themes and tonal consistencies with The Winter Soldier which was great. We’ve heard in the news about the film’s large cast and talk of this being “Avengers 2.5“, but so far this looks like Captain America 3, but with elements of Avengers-styled stuff incorporated. And that’s how it should it be. Winter Soldier was great because it had its own story to tell with awesome themes and genre changes added to the superhero formula and that’s one of the main aspects that made that film work so well, and I can only hope that the Russo brothers are able to bring back the awesomeness to the MCU. My only concern is that this film won’t be consistent in tone and may insert too much humour, that happened with Age of Ultron back in the summer, I just pray that the jokes and light-hearted material will be appropriately placed and won’t overshadow the key themes.

There’s a lot going on in this trailer so I’ll just highlight them below:

  • Cap and Bucky forever: Looks like Bucky’s public enemy number one now and Cap’s trying to help/rehabilitate/protect Bucky from not only the government but also Tony Stark and possibly some of his other allies. It really helps solidify their bond as friends and shows that these personal connections amongst the heroes will be an important factor when it comes to the superhero lifestyle.
  • William Hurt’s back as Thunderbolt Ross: Seeing this character back again made me smile, seems like he’s risen in importance since 2008 in The Incredible Hulk as he’s talking to Cap about him being seen as a vigilante, operating with power in the world without supervision and talk of consequences. It seems he’s one of the key faces in this version of the superhero registration act from the comics.
  • BLACK PANTHER: I honestly didn’t notice this guy the first time I watched the trailer, it wasn’t until I saw a trailer review that I noticed him and saw how cool he looked. The mask/helmet looks awesome, not sure about rest of the costume, but Panther’s brief appearance is notable as we see him throw down with Bucky and go running in a chase scene. So clearly this guy is very active in this film so I can’t wait to see how he factors into this film with the story.
  • This story is intimate: For all the explosions and chaos, this is really a battle between two friends who have different ideals and end up on opposite sides. The scale and scope of these events are as big as the comic story, but for this film its fine considering the circumstances, plus with certain characters picking sides already things will get complicated.

But there are two things that stick out to me:

  1. Cap and Tony “used” to be friends: Watching this trailer and hearing from Cap “Sorry Tony, you know I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t have any other choice. But he’s my friend.” And Tony’s reply, “So was I.” Damn, that genuinely touched me. That’s not a throwaway line. You could tell there’s sincerity behind those words. These two have been at odds occasionally for 3 years now (4 come next year), but at the end of the day they’re still comrades, so it really feels like this is something that neither of them want to do.
  2. Cap and Bucky owning Iron Man: That final shot of Cap and Bucky basically beating Iron Man into submission was beastly. The way its framed and had not quick edits, just a wide shot of Iron Man struggling to fight back against these two titans, it’s an image not easily forgotten and it’s pretty badass too.

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In conclusion this trailer for Captain America: Civil War gives me hope for this third entry in the adventures of Steve Rogers. It felt serious, personal and seems like there will be serious ramifications after the events of this film are over. I am hyped, that being said, Avengers 2 proved that marketing can trick you into seeing a film a certain way and then ending up with a different product, so I’m keeping my anticipation in check until I see the film next May (or April if it comes out early in the UK again). If this film is anywhere near as consistent as Winter Soldier then I’ll be over the moon.

So have you seen the trailer for Civil War and if so what did you think of it? Does it hamper or increase your excitement for this film? Please sound off your thoughts in the comments below ane I’ll see ya on the next post, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Review (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, time to talk the film I’ve been waiting to see for AGES, this is big one, my most anticipated film of 2015, of course I’m talking about Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you’ve read this blog you know that: 1) I’m a big fan of Marvel and 2) That I REALLY loved The Avengers back in 2012, so the wait for this film has been super painful to endure, but luckily I got to see it yesterday in IMAX and I am ready to pass judgement. So please, sit back, chill out and read my non-spoiler review.

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So plot for this film can be summarised as the following:

“When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and The Avengers are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the team to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure.”

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Now I will say that this film is not without some problems and potential nitpicks, but the good totally outweighs the bad and it really is about personal preference. Your experience and enjoyment of this film will be dependent on you as the viewer and what you choose to take away from the film. With that being said I would like to talk about what I liked about the plot.

I thought the plot overall was very enjoyable. The film that deals with cause and effect, the corruption of artificial intelligence, tampering with unknown power, dealing with one’s insecurities and the bonds between people, and it is all handled in a very dark, twisted, humourous and human way. For those worrying that the film would be too dark, be at ease as there is plenty of humour in this film and balances out perfectly with the more serious aspects of the story too. In addition to that this film is full of fan service, it pretty much gives you more of the same but with new, exciting and different scenarios. There was a very global scale to this film as the Avengers travelled to different parts of the world together and individually to find answers, stop the bad guys and save the world, it just makes the stakes feel higher and let you know that this is not an isolated incident and involves the lives of many people across the world. Another thing I appreciated about the film was the use of other characters from previous films crossing over into this one, it is not only great for fans to see these characters acknowledged again beyond the solo films, but it also gives a better sense of cohesion and continuity in this cinematic universe. I won’t say who shows up but needless to say the use of certain characters is definitely humourous and satisfying. So is there anything I didn’t like, well yes there was. This film had a lot going on with the numerous plot lines taking place and while for he most part it was executed well, I feel like some of them could have been handled better or been cut out entirely, plus I do miss the streamlined stories of some of the previous MCU films too. And there is an argument to be made that this film rehashed a few elements from the last Avengers film too, but in the grand scheme of things this will be stuff that only fanboys and harsh critics will pick up on.

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As for the cast they are all very good and what I loved so much is that with the extra layers given to them thanks to the script, we get to see more sides to them, and learn more about their personalities and see them interact.

Let’s start with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, RDJ is still awesome and does well in this role. It’s like Joss Whedon found a way to bring back the funny and cocky aspects of the character, while also continuing to mature him and see how he feels responsible for the team and the world, and show how his insecurities bring about the dangers that follow. Chris Evans is great as Steve Rogers/Captain America, this time round Cap is more settled into present times, he’s focused and has that leader-like quality about him. It was nice to see his character evolve and grow a bit more, and when him and Tony butted heads, it was great. Evans and RDJ have such good on-screen chemistry. Chris Hemsworth as Thor was awesome, I’ve always loved this character and in this film they’ve given him his best material since the last Avengers film, here he is funny, awkward and totally badass. We discover more secrets about him, also see him battle in the most coolest way in the MCU so far, and we also see that he has great banter/competition with Tony Stark.

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Mark Ruffalo is once again really good as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Banner is still just as witty and fun as he was in the last film, but he is definitely a little more on edge with his powers and troubled by what his future holds, as not only part of the team but also with personal relationships. It is also interesting to see how the Hulk was humanised quite well in this film and really makes me curious as to how they will handle him in a future solo film. Scarlett Johansson is still great as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, besides being absurdly gorgeous, this woman finds new ways to kick ass and look like a force to be reckoned with. But beyond that we learn more about her past, and see a more different side to her in regards to her relationship with Banner/Hulk. Ruffalo and Johansson have really good chemistry together. And Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye was awesome! Anyone dissatisfied with the character’s treatment last time will be very happy with this film as Hawkeye gets a lot of love here as he’s more dominant in the action, story and humour, plus he has some of my favourite lines in the whole film.

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Now let’s talk about the new villain, Ultron played by James Spader. I thought Ultron was going to be super serious, but this film really did flesh him out and gave him more personality and human traits, it made him a little easier to relate to but also understand how his mind works. I loved how he could be totally calm and collected one moment and then freak out in another. Spader did quite well with this role and gave us the most memorable villain in the MCU since Loki. Then there’s the twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver played by Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Johnson. I thought they were both really good, adding new flavours to the MCU and creating interesting situations for the Avengers to deal with. I bought the sibling-like nature and they worked well together and individually. Paul Bettany as  J.A.R.V.I.S. and Vision was really good. Bettany does well to transition from a computer AI program to a fleshed out humanoid character, it gives his performance some variation and I really liked how Vision was handled, the dude was really intriguing and cool. Olsen was wonderful as this creepy yet vulnerable individual with strange powers and Johnson was totally cool, cocky and aggressive as the overly protective sibling. I liked the depiction of their powers as they looked cool and lead to some really great action scenes. Samuel L. Jackson return as Nick Fury and does a nice job and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill is just a good as I remember her being too. Oh and Andy Serkis was totally awesome as Ulysses Klaue offering a humourous, smart and devious supporting role. Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was pretty good but I wish he had been used a lot more and lastly Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes was awesome, I liked his interaction with the other team members and was glad to see that he had some good screen time.

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When it comes to the presentation it is pretty damn impressive. Visually this film has some of the best action to come of the MCU with awesome fight sequences, good CGI and comic book referenced material too. Whether it is the Avengers team fighting together or seeing Captain America go up against Ultron or seeing Quicksilver running around messing stuff up, it is all so cool and it is pure fan service for the fans as there are a good few moments that made me smile with glee thinking, “Yes, this is the Avengers I wanted to see in live action.” I will say that sometimes the action does get a bit too chaotic and some of the action is hard to follow either because it moves too fast or is zoomed in too close, but that’s nitpicking. And the soundtrack handled by Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman is awesome, I’m not sure if it quite outdoes the previous soundtrack by Alan Silvestri, but it does include parts of the themes from previous MCU films and has plenty of powerful, heroic and beautiful moments, plus they kept the Avengers theme intact and it still sounds gorgeous.

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In conclusion is Avengers: Age of Ultron pretty damn cool. While there are a few stumbles a long the way and there is some magic from the first film that arguably could not be recaptured this time round, make no mistake, this film gives fans what they want while delivering new and intriguing mysteries to be discovered. And at the end of the day the film is fun and when a film like this really entertains me there’s not much to complain about. 🙂

Rating: 8.5/10

So what did you think of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Do you feel this sequel leaves up to the hype or not? Also how do you think it more compares to not only the prequel but the other MCU films? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #3

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another film trailer review and I thought I would be waiting until tomorrow to review this one, but apparently the third trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron dropped so I have to talk about it. So with a great first trailer was amazing and the second was decent, so what’s Marvel going to show that’ll outdo the last trailers? Well read on and find!

Check it out here:

So my thoughts are seeing this trailer? Well fuck me, seems like there is still more good stuff that Marvel haven’t shown us in these trailers and it’s awesome!

Now I’m not going to talk too much about this trailer because I have business elsewhere, but I will try and be as descriptive as possible.

This trailer shows off a lot of shots that’s been shown in previous trailers (which is good because too much new footage always takes away from the final film), though there was a heck of a lot more material like:

  • More Ultron dialogue
  • Scenes of the Avengers kicking ass
  • Extra snippets of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
  • Some of that trademark Marvel humour
  • VISION!

In a way there is a bit too much to talk about however I will try to touch upon things as a whole and what small things that stuck out to me. Well this trailer definitely continues to show of the epic scale of the film with all of the different locations and crazy action sequences which makes it feel like a bigger adventure than before. That being said there are a lot of character moments with people together whether it is Tony Stark and Steve Rogers or Black Widow and Bruce Banner or Ultron hanging with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and believe those intimate moments will be pivotal to the drama and character development in this film.

In addition to that I knew that Ultron was going to wreck shop, but he really seems like he going to let the Avengers have it. He’s throwing his drones around to destroy the place and give our heroes grief, and while Loki had his army of Chitauri, Ultron and his posse look like they’re just here to end human existence. It is like Marvel’s version of Skynet taking over with an army of Terminators built of Vibranium (well, at least Ultron is).

But there are a lot of things to talk about with this trailer that grabbed my interest like:

  • SOMEONE LOOKS POSSESSED: This is a quick shot, but it looks like Scarlet Witch is controlling the mind of Black Widow. Looks super creepy, and I wonder what she’ll make Widow do. It also makes me wonder if this is the same kind of magic that makes Hulk fight Iron Man.
  • BANNER & ROMANOFF: Sticking with Black Widow, what’s going on between her and Bruce Banner? There has been a lot of talk about their relationship, and there have been hints in previous trailers, but this scene looks very intimate with them getting very close. That is kissing distance yo. Is there anything romantic involved?
  • YOU’RE TOO SLOW!: It is a quick shot, but there’s a scene where Quicksilver knocks Cap on his ass and it is awesome. It is interesting that when Quicksilver hits him it is in slow motion, but after Cap falls to the ground things return to normal. So this leads me to assume that there will be a combination of fast shots and slow mo ones?
  • THAT TRADEMARK HUMOUR: While the last few trailers have been mainly devoid of humour and more serious (with the exception of the first extended trailer), but here there is a few funny moments. Whether it is Widow telling Stark that he failed with the Ultron program or Thor egging on Ultron to throw more at them, only to have a million robots thrown at them with Cap saying “You had to ask?” This is some good stuff and I can’t wait for the humour again.
  • STARK & BANNER DISCUSS FAILURE & ULTRON: At one point we hear how Stark wanted to create a suit of armour around to world to protect it but failed and made something else. A crazy AI hellbent on destroying humanity.
  • FIGHTING AGAINST THE ODDS: The heroes fight pretty much a never-ending mass of robots, everyone is beating the crap out of the Ultron drones. Hulk is definitely throwing down and if you look you can see Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch fighting alongside the Avengers which is cool. What I like is the fact that the heroes are pushed into a corner and there are in a tight little circle where it is literally a “fight or die” situation.
  • VISION!: Sure you only see him for a hot second at the end of the trailer and he doesn’t say or do anything beyond opening his eyes, but man he looks cool and i can’t wait to see more.

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In conclusion the third trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron is pretty damn sweet. So much new footage and fan service in this trailer that I’m getting giddy just thinking about it. My hype for this film is just at the peak of life and I need the film in my system now, just give it to me Marvel! 😛

So what do you think of this trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Does it make you feel the hype more or less than before? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer #2 Quick Review

Howdy ladies and gents, time to talk the big trailer that dropped on the internet last night, the trailer in question is second one for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Now the first trailer was amazing! and I think it is safe to say that most people, especially the fans, lost their minds. So with this next trailer coming out, the hype was building pretty high for sure. So how does this trailer fare? Read on and find out.

Check it out here:

So my thoughts are seeing this trailer? It goes a little something like this: “Nice, I want this film to come faster.”

To be honest this trailer didn’t blow me away, however,  it did have some stellar moments of action and it did give me a little more to speculate about and I know that I want to see this film just a little more than before.

So what happened in the trailer? Well it was primarily a lot of the same stuff we saw in the teaser. Stuff like:

  • Ultron’s first appearance all mashed up and broken in Stark Tower
  • Ultron’s drones flying around
  • Thor grabbing Tony Stark by the throat
  • Hulk and Black Widow touching hands

You know stuff like that. But we do learn some new details from some minor details in certain individual scenes. So firstly we hear that Stark believes that the world needs more than just the Avengers, and because of that mindset I feel like that is the reason why he creates Ultron. Also when Ultron makes his appearance in front of the Avengers crew some of his drones fly out afterward. Then there’s other nice little moments like seeing Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch very close together or seeing Bruce Banner’s eyes turn green in a room alone or the moment that stands out is the one woman in that cave alone. Some have speculated that this is linked to the moment in the last trailer where Thor is in that pool of water in the cave alone and some have also said that this woman in question could be Shuri, sister of Black Panther or a more far-fetched person Hela, goddess of death (because of the connection to Asgard). You also have Thor saying that Stark is messing with things out of his control, a short of a possibly younger Black Widow, an operating desk, Iron Man dropping in getting ready to start some action and Hulk attacking the police.

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Other cool things involves Andy Serkis with a gun, Captain America going up against one of Ultron’s drones, Thor being electrocuted and Ultron shooting some crazy red beam of death. And then of course there’s Iron Man’s Hulkbuster going up against Hulk and it looks amazing. This fight seems like it is going to be rough as hell. Tony doesn’t seem to be holding back as he smashes Hulk’s head through the ground, but Hulk aint holding back either as he hits pretty hard as well. The one that gets me curious is the fact that the area around Hulk’s eyes look red which makes me wonder if he’s just hurt or if he’s under mind control by someone like Ultron or Scarlett Witch (like people have theorized online already).

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The best thing about this trailer is that it did not show too much and that is the key factor. Too often these days film studios feel the need to through everything into their film trailers and by the time you see the film there is nothing left to show. Some people love to see a lot in trailers, but there are some (me included) that likes trailers to leave a little to the imagination and find out what happens in the full film, this Avengers trailer has done well.

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In conclusion the second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron basically just builds on the foundation of what we saw in the teaser trailer and while it doesn’t show much new or outdo the last trailer, it does badass Hulkbuster Vs. Hulk action and a few new interesting shots that will cause speculation within the fan community. I’m still hyped for this film and I want the next few months to speed up, NOW!

So what do you think of the teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron? Does it make you feel the hype more or less than before? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post yo! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Scarlett Johansson to Star in Live-Action Ghost in the Shell!

Howdy ladies and gents, time for some film news and today we have quite an interesting story for you in the form of a big development for the upcoming live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. The following information comes from superherohype:

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Back in October, it was revealed that Scarlett Johansson had been offered the lead role in DreamWorks’ live-action remake of Ghost in the Shell and now Variety brings word that the actress has accepted the role! Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders will helm the feature from a script by William Wheeler, based on the series by Masamune Shirow.

Produced by Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul and with the backing of Steven Spielberg, the rights to Shirow’s original 1989 complex futuristic thriller, about the members of a covert ops unit that takes on technology-related crime, were picked up several years ago with plans to use the latest 3D technology to film it. In Japan, the huge success of the comics led to a number of anime film adaptations, a TV series and a series of video games with DreamWorks releasing the second anime film in North America.

Johansson’s involvement in the film does raise questions about her place in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Widow. Though she is set to appear in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, could production on Ghost in the Shell prevent her involvement in Captain America: Civil War? It’s unclear at this point, though production on “Civil War” is set to begin this spring in Atlanta, Georgia, targeting a May 2016 release.

So, seems like this film is definitely going ahead then. I’ve never been completely keen on this project since the outset because I don’t think certain anime properties don’t need to adapted and westernized because the spirit and beauty of the original material normally gets lost and butchered. However, since GITS is not a property I’m not too attached to personally, I am a little more open to the idea of there being an adaptation if the right people were part of the project.

Now I’m going to talk about the three aspects surrounding this film.

1. Scarlett Johansson

So now we have Scarlett Johansson cast as the lead (after being first attached to the film a few months ago) and to be honest I’m down with it. Johansson is a great actress, she’s also proven in recent years that she’s a capable woman of action with her role as Black Widow in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and more recently with Lucy. And while I think there could have been other actresses in the role, I think Johansson is needed for a film like this to raise interest beyond the existing fanbase.

2. Rupert Sanders is directing

The another big aspect is the fact that Rupert Sanders is directing this film. Obviously he wast he man behind Snow White and the Huntsman, it was decent film however there was nothing significant or memorable about it, so I have my reservations about bringing him onto a project like this. He’s not had that many films under his belt and the one that he did wasn’t that great. Plus add on top of that, he likes to seduce his actresses. Sure, what happens in his personal life should not be related to his work as a director. However, when he decided to have relations with Kirsten Stewart, the star of the film he was directing, it makes me question his priorities a little bit. Hopefully this man can keep his head in the game and help craft a good film.

3. Avi Arad is a Producer

Now, I looked at the news story and saw that Johansson is attached, okay cool. Then saw Rupert Sanders was attached, not so keen, but heck I’ll bite. But then I saw the name Avi Arad named as one of the producers and my interest turned to concern. If you’re a fan of the Sony Spider-Man films or at least know of the people behind them, then you know who Avi Arad is. He is one of the most opinionated producers behind the Spider-Man films who in my opinion used to be a smart and innovated man, but these days he’s corrupt, out of touch and has no idea how what he’s going on about. He’s been looked as one of the main people responsible for ruining Spider-Man 3 and more recently The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And to have him attached to this film does make me wonder if he has any ideas and may use them to corrupt the production of this film. That being said, I don’t know how much creative control he’ll have and whether the input he’ll have will be positive or negative, I just hope if there are any problems with this film that it doesn’t come back to him.

In conclusion I’m curious to see how this film will shape up over the course of 2015, Ido wonder how this will affect Scarlett Johansson’s commitment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I guess only time will tell. So what do you think of this news and the points that I’ve brought up? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya later! 😀

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Films, Media

 

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